Two student film productions at Middlesex University have triumphed at the Royal Television Society’s film-making awards.

One film, The Turning Point, was shot in Beirut telling the story of a Lebanese woman overcoming obstacles to be a professional cinematographer while having to live in a war zone.

Sanaa Hamdoun, who graduated in BA Television and Digital Production at Middlesex last year, flew to Beirut to make her documentary about a woman called Rayan who had witnessed the huge explosion at Beirut port in 2020.

“That day was overwhelming, especially in Rayan’s career as a cinematographer,” Sanaa said. “She tried to document everything that day, which she could only bear to witness through her camera.

“My film reflects on many young people in the Middle East facing adversity that they should never to give up their dream — just like Rayan.” 

The other student production winning a Television Society award was a comedy drama called The Other Half which is having its premier in the Curzon Soho cinema on May 2.

Times Series: A still from comedy The Other Half shot by Ben and AlinaA still from comedy The Other Half shot by Ben and Alina (Image: MDX)

It is a quirky parable put together by Ben Bogdan-Hodgson and Alina Ilin about a town where everyone, men and women alike, have to sport a moustache to avoid adversity.

They shot it in a provincial town in their native Romania after managing to raise £10,000 for the production — but faced a challenge filming in a country where most people don’t speak English and having to make sure cast and crew were kept warm, fed and had accommodation.

The pair persuaded the town’s mayor for permission to film in the Citadel, a Unesco world heritage site, with police blocking the street so the cast and crew could work undisturbed.

Times Series: Ben Bogdan-Hodgson and Alina Ilin with their Television Society awardBen Bogdan-Hodgson and Alina Ilin with their Television Society award (Image: MDX)

Dr Helen Bendon, head of the School of Film at the university’s Hendon campus, said: “This is a fantastic result for our students to win two major categories at the Television Society awards. Both films shot overseas came with challenges but the students have created rich storytelling and displayed professionalism.”

The awards recognise the best audio-visual work by undergraduate and postgraduate students making film and video content. The Television Society is also getting ready to present its national awards in June.